Nevada Appeal at 150: Dec. 29, 1972: Air crash survivors defend cannibalism |

Nevada Appeal at 150: Dec. 29, 1972: Air crash survivors defend cannibalism

“The moment arrived when we had nothing more to eat …”

With these opening words, Alfredo Delgado Salaberry, a 25-year-old law school student, explained to a nationwide radio audience why he and other survivors of a plane crash resorted to cannibalism to remain alive.

“We thought if Jesus in his Last Supper distributed his body and blood to all his Apostles, he was making it understood that we had to do the same thing: take the body and blood which would then go through incarnation. And that was an intimate communion among all of us; it was what helped us to survive …”

Each of the nine others at the press conference related his experience during the 70-day ordeal high in the snow covered Andes, living in the wreckage of a Uruguayan air force plane.

Sixteen young men, all members of the Uruguayan Rugby team, were rescued days ago in Chile. Twenty-nine died as a result of the Oct. 13 plane crash. Some were smothered in a snow avalanche six days after the accident.

The survivors, ranging in age from 19 to 25, played rugby together on the Old Christians team.

Roberto Canessa, 19, and Fernando Parrado, 23, walked out of the Andes to get help for the others after realizing rescuers, searching for the wreckage by air, had given up hope.

Canessa said two other expeditions from the wreckage preceded the final trek. One was made to the tail of the plane, which broke off and fell three miles away. Everyone in the tail had been killed.

The other was made to the top of a nearby peak. Once the climb had been made, the survivors could see from miles and get their bearings.

This continues the Appeal’s review of news stories and headlines during its Sesquicentennial year.